Sunday, April 13, 2014

Patient Grades

When I strolled into the surgeons lounge I saw one of our best surgeons sitting there with her head in her hands.  I sat down and asked if she needed to talk to someone.  Usually when I see a surgeon like that she just had to give someone bad news or no matter what she did he could save the patient and they were going to die.  Its a lonely place and sometimes it helps to be able to talk to a colleague to get it all out.

I wasn't prepared for what she had to say.  A few months before she had saved a patient from certain death, a bad mesenteric ischemia with perforated bowel.  The patient had a rough course but pulled through.  The patient was an IV drug abuser and the bowel infarction was a septic emboli.  Because the surgeon would not give the patient all the narcotics he wanted and instead set him up in a treatment program, the patient went on HealthGrades and slandered the surgeon up and down.  This is now the first thing you see when you google her name.  I did my best to console her but all I could think of is "We need a PatientGrades where we can list all the drug seekers, psychopaths and Munchhausen's patients!"


SeaSpray said...

Awww ...that is a shame. Just not right at all. I don't know how people can be so unappreciative of their doctors. Any decent person would've recognized what she did for them.

It must've been bad if her head was in her hands. :( And it was thoughtful of you to offer to talk/listen. I'm sure it helped her to speak with a kindred spirit.

Your image of what you described in your first paragraph is so moving. I can't even imagine what those surgical moments must be like and the fallout later if things don't go well. I guess I'm still in awe of what surgeons do and I know so little. I'm also in awe of what other doctors do in the ED, etc., but that whole cutting into people and all that entails is not for the faint of heart.

It isn't fair that patients can trash doctors on those sites. Perhaps they could ask their satisfied/pleased with outcome patients to write something to counter any negativity?


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